Asking the Prayers of Saints Peter and Paul

Graffiti on a wall in Roman catacombs

Catacomb graffiti, c. 250 A.D., asking for the prayers of Saints Peter and Paul. The early Christians always asked for the prayers of the saints; this practice is continued today by Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Orthodox as well as in the Nestorian Churches of the East.

Scholars believe that the bodily relics of these two saints were actually hidden here when Christianity was still an underground religion. After this wall was discovered in the early 20th century, archaeologists were shocked to find hundreds of ancient graffito inscriptions, mostly in Latin, some in Greek. The largest one here reads:

“PETER AND PAUL PRAY FOR VICTOR”

Most of the other inscriptions are similar:

  • “O Peter and Paul, intercede for all of us”
  • “Peter and Paul, in your prayers keep in mind… ”
  • “Peter and Paul, intercede for Leontius”
  • “Paul and Peter, forever intercede for Dativus”
  • “Peter and Paul, save [conservate] … ”
  • “Peter and Paul, save –– and save Martyrius in the Lord!”
  • “Paul and Peter, keep in mind Auphidios, my son!”
  • “Peter and Paul come to rescue Primus the sinner!”
  • “Eulogius made a promise [votum] on –– day of the ides –––”
  • “Peter, Peter, remember Timokrates and Eutychia and … ”
  • “Paul and Peter, remember the beloved of Irene”
  • “Paul and Peter, I, Laurus [?], recommend you the soul of Chalkedonios!”

Fr Silouan Thompson

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